Monday, 23 April 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Louisa George

Today I welcome Author Louisa George to my blog!   So over to Louisa....

Thanks, Serena, for inviting me here today!

Lost For Words?

Put an end to procrastination

Some days I just don’t know where to start! I play a little on the internet, read my emails, play a little more (although I prefer to call it ‘research’) and before I know it the day has gone- not a word has been written and my writing opportunity wasted.

Now I’m published I have to write to deadline- a big and scary thing that adds worry to my procrastination. But somehow I still spend far too much time playing and not enough writing.

So, after even more research I’ve developed a few strategies that I use every day. Using these have increased my word count no end and, more importantly, have reduced my stress/guilt levels.

1. Get Organised

So, I had files all over my computer in Word folders- cut bits, important scenes, ideas.  I had a page of links to research (I’m a medical romance writer so I need to do quite a lot of research), another one of photos for my story collage. But every time I wanted to look at them I had to open another document, then another, until one day I got so confused as to where I was that I found that I’d written and edited on the wrong darned document and lost a heap of good stuff!  Now I have Scrivener

There are many different writing programmes available (such as:  snowflake pro,,, so if you’re interested in getting one you should do your research carefully. Scrivener works for me. I have everything in one place and can happily click away to my heart’s content! This is a screen shot of my Scrivener folder for my second book Waking Up with His Runaway Bride (out in July 12). On the left is the binder with all my relevant documents in it. The middle is where I write (although you can use full screen too), to the right I keep document and project notes, have a synopsis of my chapter- and my hero! You can try before you buy and there are lots of youtube videos to take you through the way it works!

2. Bum In Seat

Make a date: Show up on time!

If you want to have a successful career as a writer you have to write. Mark out your writing opportunities in your dairy and stick to them!

3.Turn OFF the internet

I use a nifty little programme called Freedom. It is ‘internet blocking productivity software’ that stops something (cookies, I think-but I’m not a techie!) and you can’t get on to the internet for a set time. You set the time. It’s available for macs and pcs. The first time I used this I trebled my hourly output!

4. Plan what you are going to write.

My biggest time suck is the internet. I waste far too much time flicking through facebook and twitter. However, one good blog I came across was Rachel Aaron's who tells us how she increased her writing output to 7,000 words a day! I use a couple of her techniques.  One of which is to plan what I am going to write that day before I start. Either longhand, or in the document notes section of Scrivener eg: (taken from my third book):

-they walk to pool

-have swim to cool off

-he kisses her

-they eat; he’s brought her food from places she’s going to visit, how does this affect her?

-she touches his tattoo- what does he feel/ think?

-he talks about his life before the accident/ what tattoo means

This way I have a list I can work through- I’m not plotting at this stage, just planning.

5. Have a deadline tracker

Scrivener has a great project tracker and can show statistics on number of words written/ most common words used etc. But I like to set myself even more rigid deadlines. I have a daily word count I have to achieve, a deadline for novel completion, one for editing completion, one for submission etc. The easiest way to do this is creating something that’s going to work for you in Excel, although you can find lots of examples on the internet.

6. Don’t lose the fun

This writing gig can be hard work at times- but it’s essential we don’t forget the joy we get from creating stories. Make time to ‘fill the well’- go for a walk, look at the ocean, take in a movie. Refresh, relax and recharge.

Once you’ve got all these steps in place- all you have to do is write! No excuses!

Do you have any other tips on how to increase productivity or decrease procrastination? I’d love to hear them!

About Louisa George:
I was born and brought up in Yorkshire, England. And yes, many hours were spent on the brooding, bleak Yorkshire Moors dreaming of Heathcliff and other dark, tortured heroes! I read avidly from a young age, and it seemed a natural extension that I would pen my own stories and poems (the early ones are locked away in a drawer where they should stay for eternity!).

Then followed years of studying, nurse training and marriage, two kids and well.... life took over and writing was put aside as a lofty dream.

We emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 2002, to feed our passion for travel. It was a place we had never visited and knew no-one - what a thrill! We soon felt very much at home. It is a wonderful place to bring up children.... and to follow your dreams.

Strange things happen here. While doing chores I began to get strings of poetry writing itself in my head, then story ideas would suddenly formulate out of nowhere, characters were telling me their stories and demanding I wrote them! I decided I either needed to visit a doctor or get some therapy! In the end I did neither, but instead I enrolled in an evening class in Creative Writing and have been writing poetry and stories in snatched moments of spare time ever since.


Blurb :  One Month To Become A Mum
Some things in life are worth waiting for…

Jessie Price has lost her only chance at motherhood – it’s a constant hurt, until she meets sinfully sexy single dad Dr Luke McKenzie and his gorgeous little girl. Luke’s intoxicating kisses and his daughter’s adoring hugs have Jessie longing for the impossible. But she's a temporary locum, the clock’s ticking – and there’s only a month to make all her wishes come true…
Buy Links:

Monday, 9 April 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Emmie Dark

Today I welcome Author Emmie Dark to my blog! 
So over to Emmie....

The one and only secret to publishing success (IMHO)
Hello Serena and everyone, and thank you so much for asking me to be a guest on your blog. It’s an honor to be here, especially considering Serena was one of the first people to read my very early attempts at romance writing and helped to steer me on the path that has led me to where I am today!

Serena has asked me to write a craft post, to give you some advice on writing approaches and styles. Well, I’ve decided to take it one bigger than that, and let you in on the big, incredibly secret recipe to success. You know, the thing that makes published authors different to unpublished authors. The magic formula, the absolute one-and-only way to write that will instantly turn you into a multi-published success.


Deep breath.

Okay, here it is:

There isn’t one.

Sorry to set you up like that, but unfortunately, it’s the truth.

There is no one-and-only, “right” way to get published. Do you know what there is though?

Your way.

Now, if there is a secret to getting published, it’s this: you have to find your way.

It’s very useful to listen to the stories of other authors’ journeys, to read craft books about how to write, to attend conferences and workshops and participate in a critique group. All of these will offer some level of value.

But what I’ve learned over my years of trial and error is that no one else’s method works exactly right for me. No one else’s planning formula works exactly right for me. No one else’s writing habits works exactly right for me.

What I have found are my own habits, my own planning approach, my own method. Not overnight. And not without the valuable input I’ve gained from listening to other authors, reading craft books, attending workshops and conferences. But after a certain point, the learning comes with diminishing returns.

It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of learning and reading and sharing so much you forget about the actual writing. And guess what? The only way you discover your way is by writing.

My way won’t work for you. So while sharing my writing habits (always first thing in the morning, when I’m fresh, with a cup of tea by my side), my planning approach (a pantser, at first, until the characters come together and I can then plot out their journey), and my method (a good critique partner is worth their weight in gold), might be interesting, and you might take something of use from it, what I really want to advise you to do is to make the time to find your way.

Write, write and write some more. Take note of when and where you do it best. Be clear about which interactions give you the most energy, make you feel most positive and send you back to your story with renewed enthusiasm. Be ruthless in figuring out what activities genuinely contribute to your writing and which are really time-suckers that allow you to pretend you’re “writing” when really you’re not. (I include here talking about writing, reading about writing and thinking about writing. I’m incredibly cynical about things like collaging, but hey, if it’s part of your way, then go for it.)

Like the shampoo ad, finding your way doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and it’s never really set in stone, either—you have to be flexible to changing circumstances around you and you have to be open to learning new and better ways of doing things.

But the first step is to stop looking for someone else to provide you with your way. Unfortunately you won’t find it in a book, at a conference or from a critique partner. You are the only one who can find it. It’s between you and your story and no one else.

I wish you the very best in finding your way. I can tell you, nothing is quite as satisfying as when you do.

Emmie on the web:


Emmie Dark’s Bio:
After years of writing press releases, employee newsletters and speeches for CEOs and politicians – none of which included any kind of kissing – Emmie Dark finally took to her laptop to write what she wanted to write. She was both amazed and delighted to discover that what came out was sexy, noble heroes who found themselves crossing paths with strong, determined heroines. And plenty of kissing.

Emmie’s overnight success has taken about five years to achieve. She began fiddling around with story ideas when the urge to write fiction became overwhelming. In July 2011 she sold her first book to Harlequin SuperRomance and she’s not looking back, with her second sale in September. Both books will be out in 2012.

Emmie lives in Melbourne, Australia, and she likes red lipstick, chardonnay, sunshine, driving fast, rose-scented soap and a really good cup of tea. Like, a really good cup of tea. She’s particularly fussy about it, and has been known to pack her own teabags when she travels. Most members of her family are too scared to make her a cuppa, in case they get it wrong.

Four steps to a brand-new life
Cassie Hartman knows what she needs to do to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait.

Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The too-sexy, too-polished business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one—and that’s not an option. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones….

Buy Links:

Amazon UK
Book Depository

Win a Copy of  Cassie's Grand Plan:

Win big prizes just by sending me a photo of yourself reading my book. I don't even need
to see your face - just send me a photo that clearly shows you reading "Cassie's
Grand Plan" somewhere exotic, exciting or unexpected. And yes, there's even a way
to enter if you have an e-book version! Comp runs from now until 15 April 2012.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Julie A. D'Arcy

Today I welcome Author Julie A. D'Arcy to my blog!  Leave a comment in the comment box, naming two of the characters in "Whisper of Yesterday" with your email address for your chance to win a PDF copy of "Darkness I Weep".  And as a special treat Julie is also giving away a copy of "Whisper of Yesterday".  So over to Julie....

First I would like to thank Serena for hosting me on her blog this morning. I will be telling you a little about myself and my NEW novel which has just been released with Secret Cravings Publishing in March 28th 2012. “Whisper of Yesterday is a cross genre Paranormal Romance with elements of a historical, witchcraft, reincarnation, but basically it is a ghost Romance with a thrilling twist at the end.”

I wrote this novel seven years ago, but grew ill and decided not to seek a publisher, I am now well and back writing and Whisper of Yesterday is the  first novel to mark my foray back into the writing world. You may purchase this book at Secret Craving Publishing
Now, please make yourself comfortable, put up your feet, grab a cup of your favourite whatever ... and take the time to read about “Whisper of Yesterday.”  I really enjoyed writing this novel! As it is set in Cornwall a place I have always had a fascination for and would dearly like to visit one day. I am sure I must have lived there in another lifetime J Perhaps even in the castle J

Marketing Your Book

First, it is very important to market your book as your book is not going to sell itself whatever you have heard.J These are a few suggestions I have used in the past.

Set up a web page (there are plenty of free sites.) Free Webs is one, and easy to use. Put up your cover picture as soon as you get it, a blurb of your book and excerpt from your book/s and any reviews you may get. Give your website something different so people will return.  Interesting articles or perhaps run a competition once a month.

Make up some business cards (Vista Print, online, sells them for a very reasonable price) or postcards and leave them around or give them out to friends and anyone you might meet/ link to where you can buy your book.

Have a video trailer made of your book and load it to youtube, your web page, and your publishers web page if allowable, make sure your publisher information is on it, and a link to where to buy your book. I make these for a very reasonable price. (A small plug there J)

Put a signature link on the bottom of your email's along with name and release date of your book.

Do a monthly magazine and get people interested in subscribing, here you tell people about your book, as well as give writing tips and any other feature that might interest your readers.

Closer to release date, if your book is in print, ask your local paper to put a piece in the paper about you and give them a website link to where people can buy your book.

Join yahoo writing groups and post to at least one a day. Tell people about your book, make friends.

Take out a joint add with someone else in romantic times, or any other writing magazines you can think of, with your cover and link to your publishers site or Amazon where your book is sold.

Talk about your book on Twitter or Facebook, and post your cover picture and where people can read an excerpt.

If your publisher runs a launch day on the net, invite as many family and friends to participate as you can, and perhaps give away a copy of your ebook if allowable.

If your book goes to print, organise a book launch in your home town.

Make a blog there are plenty of free sites, just do a search, also invite guest authors and blog on other peoples blogs



Julie A. D’Arcy lives in Wangaratta, North East Victoria, Australia with her life partner Philip and her spoiled Tonkanese cat Jessalyn. Julie attended Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she majored in Art and Design. She started writing at 38 when she became disenchanted with the books on offer to read. So wrote a book combining her two favourite genres, Fantasy and Romance and has not looked back since.

Julie’s first two novels Time of the Wolf  and Silverdawn were first published in 1999 and 2000 and Shortlisted for several prestigious awards, including the PEARL and Sapphire, with Time of the Wolf winning the 1999 RIO (Reviewers International, Dorothy Parker Award) in the Fantasy category for Women’s Fiction. Both books were also runners up in the prestigious Australian, RUBY* Award run by the Australian RWA.

Julie began writing seriously in 1994, and is the author of a series of Fantasy romance novels based in her fictional medieval world of Tarlis. The first book, The Dragon and the Rose will be the next book released by Secret Cravings Publishing.

Julie has written for such publishers as ImaJinn Books, Mundania Press, Eternal Press, Moongypsy Press, Noble Romance Publishing and is now proud to be part of  Secret Cravings Publishing.

Julie is the author of 8 full length novels (now out of print, but being released again soon) and 2 novellas. She has written in such genres as Fantasy Romance, Vampire Romance, Ghost Romance, with all books crossing many genres, such as witchcraft, reincarnation and all of her books are very much plot driven, with most reviews scoring no less than a 4-5 and several receiving BEST READS by Reviewers.

More of Julie’s titles, excerpts, extra Bio information and her gallery of book covers can be found at

You may visit her Blog at

Julie also loves nothing better than for her readers to contact her with feedback about her novels. You may do so on  Or, help spread the word about Julie’s novels by writing a short review to place on Amazon Book Reviews, found on the Amazon Book page under her titles.


Excerpt: Whisper of Yesterday

Alyssa drifted toward him as he bid. “Tom, you must be freezing.” She laid a hand on his frail shoulder. She towered almost a half a head above him, but never would he fear her. “What brings you here like this? On such a cold morning?” She smiled so sweetly it made his heart hurt.

Me?” he growled. “What would you be thinkin’, showin’ yourself like that? And all that wailin’ too.”

The smile fell from her face, and she looked away. “Do not growl, Tom, please. I had to see him. I had to be certain it was he. And the darkness came upon me. I could not coalesce in his room. So there was naught for it but to bring him down. Oh, Tom.” She hugged her arms to her chest and did a tiny pirouette. “Did you see him? Is he not beautiful? Did I not tell you he was wondrous as the sun? Did I not tell you he would come?”

“As you told my father and ‘is father ‘afore ‘im,” Tom grumbled.

“But Tom.” She gently squeezed his arm. “It is him. It really is. You have seen the painting. You cannot deny it. Cai has come back to me.”

Tom shook his head. “Oh, ‘e has come all right. And there is no denying ‘e bears a striking resemblance to your lord ‘usband. But…” He laid his hand over hers and gave it a pat. “You must see, ‘lyssa, ‘e can never be yours. There is no joining of the spirit world with the flesh. Not in the way that you would be wantin’. And you would not want ‘im dead, for even if it were so, there is no guaranteein’ you would be together.”

Alyssa stepped back and raised her chin. “I will meet with him here like I did with Lady Meredith. He will think me a real woman.”

Tom spoke gently as if to a child. “Perhaps, but I think it best you allow ‘im time to settle in first, get ‘is bearings. That way we can take stock of ‘im, for ‘e may have your lord ‘usband’s face, but ‘e’s not only the descendent of Cai de Morgan, but also Gedrych de Morgan, and you knew well the ilk of that man!”

Alyssa broke a ruby-colored rose from an overhanging vine and plucked at the velvet petals. “Of course, Tom, you are right. I am no young miss to go floating about with her head in the clouds.” She sighed and looked over his shoulder into the distance, trying to put on a brave face. “I am a two-hundred-year-old ghost, who momentarily got lost in a dream.” Tears glinted in her eyes. She hung her head but nevertheless managed a tremulous smile. “Go back to the house. I shan’t be making a nuisance of myself again.”

Tom swallowed the lump in his throat, and his heart hurt in a different kind of way than before. He had never seen his lady so sad, nor heard such desolation in her voice. “I think it would not hurt if you should pop up to ‘is room on occasion. Considering it is your old room. If you do not make yourself conspicuous by your actions, ‘e would never know you were there.”

She peered up at him through wet lashes, the light returning to her brilliant green eyes. “Oh, Tom, do you really think so? It would not be the same as speaking to him, but at least I could look upon him.” Her face fell again. “Until the darkness claims me. Why do you suppose it is that I can appear as a real woman within these stones? Yet can hold my spirit form out of the stone circle for a mere few minutes?”

Tom shrugged and leaned back against a tall stone. The cold wall felt real in this place of unreality. Sometimes a man needed to feel such things. “I ‘ave thought on this many times, my lady, and the only fathomable reason is that these stones ‘arness some kind of energy. It is told that on your death Lord Gedrych ‘ad ‘em dragged in from yonder ‘ill.” He looked north. “‘E had your body surrounded. It is said the stones would trap your spirit within the circle.” He gave a soft snort of laughter. “Little had ‘e known what ‘e’d done.”

Available from 28th March 2012 from Secret Craving Publishing

Other Books by Julie A. D'Arcy:

~The Tarlisian Sagas~
The Dragon and the Rose ( Book 1)
Elven Blood (book two) spin off
Time of the Wolf
The Cross of Tarlis (2 x novel series)

Single titles
Night’s Eternal Promise (Vampire novel)
Whisper of Yesterday(Historical, Re-incarnation, Ghost, Witch Romance)
Face of a Stranger (33,000 word Novella) Urban Fantasy
Silverdawn-(novel) Romantic Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
Beyond the Green Door  -Fantasy Romance

Currently Writing:

Huntress, a vampire novel (spin off from Night’s Eternal Promise)
Guardians (sequel to Cross of Tarlis)

Excerpt: The Dragon and the Rose
                     Garrik stood at the window, wearing only a pair of close fitting black breaches.
 He could not have known Madric had arrived, yet he seemed to be watching, listening. And on his back, below his left shoulder blade, she spied several small, disc-shaped, scales.
His deformity robbed her of her words. She was fascinated and revolted all in one, but even as she observed him her feelings underwent a change. Her fear of Madric dissipated. She swallowed, bringing her hand to her throat, experiencing the sensual awareness she had felt in the library that first evening. A feeling that robbed her of breath and made her hands tremble. She busied them with pinning up several locks of stray hair that had tumbled down around her shoulders.
“I thought I told you not to come here?” his tone was cold.
She lowered her hands and stepped hesitantly into the room.
He did not turn, and the hard muscled expanse of his back filled her vision. She could not look away. What was this attraction she felt for him? Why could she think of nothing but running her hands over his golden flesh, filling her hands with his warmth, soothing his skin and the hard metallic scales that protruded from his back, even as Madric battered at her door? Had this man bewitched her?
“Madric.” She breathed at last, pushing the words from her throat. “The Baron comes to claim me.”
Garrik swung to face her. A row of scales spanned his chest.
Meggahn gasped, but recovered herself and tried not to stare. Instead she lifted her gaze to his face.
 His voice was smooth. Lethal. “How did the Baron find this place?”
 She shook her head and backed up a pace.
“What do you mean, claim?”
She did not see him move. Yet he had her, and all thought of Madric vanished. The look in his eyes was one of loathing as he hauled her about and backed her to the wall. His hard thighs pressed intimately against her softer ones, holding her trapped like a small, frightened animal. One large hand leaned on the brick above her head. His male scent wafted around her, stilling her movements, robbing her of her strength.
“You wanted to see me, Meggahn? You were not satisfied in the cave. Well here I am.” His words were soft, hypnotic, yet held a wealth of emotion. “This is what you really came for, is it not? You had to see it all. You wanted to see the dragon?” He took her hand and placed it over the round metallic-like scales on his chest. “Well here I am. Touch me. Touch the dragon, for he and I am one. I am a monster. Neither fully human, nor fully beast. An abomination.” He closed his eyes as if the words brought him great pain and rested his hot forehead against hers. She could feel the tickle of his breath hot and harsh on her face. Yet as quickly as his anger flared, it disappeared and he released her hand. “I would not blame you for hating me, fearing me, or thinking me an animal,” he whispered. “If you wish to leave the castle, I will not hold you.”
Meggahn remained silent, contemplating his words, absorbing the warm solace of his strong masculine body pressed intimately against her own.

Blurb:  The Dragon and the Rose

Garrik le Fey, First King of Tarlis, has pledged his life to destroying, Narokah, Dark Priest to Aramahn, Prince of the Abyss. Garrik, transformed to a Black Dragon by his friend Arkron Ali-Maha, to fight the Priest who has changed himself to a red dragon, finds himself trapped in a world between the pages of an ancient spell book as self-appointed jailer to the Narokah. For nearly a thousand years he guards against the red dragon's escape. Until one rash act by a simple carpenter sees Narokah released. It is up to Garrik to track him down and return him to Arkgeld, Book of Stars, or stop him, before he can wreak havoc upon their world and resurrect, Arahmin.
            Meggahn du Val, daughter of the Low-Lord of Gola-dah, watches a strange light flare across the night sky.  Little does she realise it is the return of the legendary Black Dragon and she is about to be immersed in an adventure that will change her life, and meet a man unlike any before.
            Garrik, who finds himself man by night and dragon by day, must journey to a legendary pond of transformation, created by the Elven goddess Estrel, to save himself from becoming a dragon forever.  He must also locate the mythical Sword of Niraz and vanquish Narokah. To do this he is forced to put his trust in the cynical elf, Vellandril Ballindoch.  And Vellandril has no love for humans after Narokah's henchman, Madric la Mordah, violates and murders his sister.
And why does Ejin-Erah, keeper of the Orb, hide within the Pantheon Swamp, awaiting with dread, the return of the Dark Priest?
Garrik, Meggahn, Vellandril and Arkron, set forward on a journey, of High Fantasy, dark sorcery, legend, myth and romance to battle foe they think invincible.

Excerpt: Night's Eternal Promise

          Vincent thought he caught a glimpse of something metallic in her bag as he watched her. A gun—but of course Alara would have a gun, she was a cop.
              “How did you know I was in that restaurant?” she asked, pinning him with her emerald green gaze, key in hand.
     “I didn’t. I wandered in for a bite to eat,” he lied. He knew she was at the restaurant.
             He’d found her apartment empty and searched for her. He could track her scent anywhere, and with the speed and senses of the wolf he had little trouble locating her. But something about tonight wasn’t right. The vibes she was giving off. The way she had acted in the restaurant, quiet, distracted. The odd questions from Sam about his eating habits.
                 He took Alara by the shoulders and drew her slowly into his arms.  She relaxed into his body, her soft contours molding against his harder ones. Her heart, beating into his chest like a butterfly trying to escape. He trailed soft wet kisses over her hair, her nape and down the side of her throat, and felt her stiffen.
She spun and shoved at his chest. “Get away from me!”
The look on her face said it all.
                He pushed his fringe from his eyes and met her gaze in the dim light. Really looked at her. She was beautiful, fragile, and it was there in her face, in her wide green eyes. It was like a living thing, palatable, reaching out to him, like the fear in the wild creatures of the forest he had hunted, like the terror of his victims before he had feasted in the old days. She was afraid of him. She knew what he was. He didn’t know how, but she knew. He sensed it.
And he had lost her.

Excerpt:  The Cross of Tarlis
       Tannith stilled. Love. How could he love her? He was so hard, and at most times cold. He had never told her how he felt except for his small confession when they had reached the island and that had been forced from him. Very rarely had he showed her even the smallest kindness. It was the word she longed to hear, yes. However, it had been so long coming. So much had happened between them. Now he finally voiced the words she could not bring herself to truly believe. Did he really love her? Or were they merely words spoken for the sake of convenience? Tannith turned slowly to search his face. What was it he had once told her? Emerald eyes when moved to passion. Well, they were certainly that all right. They were absolute pulsing green. Was it with love or desire? Kaden was a man of strong passions and he hadn't had a woman since that tavern wench he had spent the night with in Druh Forest.
Her fist clenched, as jealousy coursed her veins. Etan had told her that he had literally had to drag Kaden from the wench's bed the morning after he had left Tannith in her room.
       She stared at the mountain ranges in the east; the sun tinged the clouds at their peaks bright orange. The color of rare roses she had once picked in a deep gorge in Dragon's Spur. Rare as love coming from this man.
       A young dappled fawn drank thirstily from the brook not twenty paces from where they stood, accompanied by its mother. Tannith wondered how it would feel to be so carefree again—not have to make another decision in her life.
       She swung back to Kaden, watching him, watching her. How could he do this? Tell her he loved her. Now. Like this! She was still hurt by his previous actions. And he still wanted the Cross as much as she? Would he lie to get it?
       She pulled away and looked at him from beneath her lashes. His expression remained guarded. Yes, she loved him, but when all was said and done, she did not trust him. And what was love without that one element that mattered most? She needed time to put matters into perspective.
 “Will you not give me an answer?” He crossed his arms over his chest. “I thought this was what you wanted. A declaration.”
       “You are a Prince of Glen Dorrach and I the Princess of Ellenroh, that is all there is to it,” she said, widening the gap between them. “It is forbidden.” 
        “So, now again it is forbidden.” He laughed shortly, moving after her, catching her arm. “It is only forbidden when it suits you and not when it does not.” He searched her face. “Right. If you were free to do as you please, would you love me?”
        “I am free. As free as you are.”
       “Then forget who you are. Let the world and its people go away. Except you and I. Do what you want. Here. Now. Let us finish what was started in Druh Forest.”
       Tannith broke loose and backed away. She shook her head. “How could you?” She knew he had lied. He wanted to use her to get to the Cross. He thought to use sex to manipulate her. Once a barbarian, always a barbarian! He would never change.
       She turned and fled up the garden path.
              Kaden watched her disappear around the turn in the track, and thrust his thumbs into his belt. What a fool he’d been. Those were not the words he’d intended. He knew Tannith’s beliefs and her decision on lying with him before marriage. Why had he uttered such a stupid, uncaring thing? He sighed. A pair of almond shaped violet eyes, perhaps? A silken mass of white blonde hair surrounding a pale enchanting face? The feel of a firm svelte body against his just moments before? Or all of it put together?
              Nothing had gone as intended. The words had slipped from his tongue without thought or consequence. He was sure Tannith loved him. Every look and action spoke of it, but love could not be bought with lust.
              He had always said he was no diplomat.